Jobs in Seattle

6 May 2013 - 10:08am
3 years ago
1 reply
988 reads
Posted in:
Christine Ricks

Hello everyone,

I'm a user experience designer currently working in Utah, and I'm trying to get a better feel for the job landscape in Seattle. My husband just got accepted to the MBA program at UW, and before we make any final decisions about whether we should go there, we wanted to find out more about what my job prospects will be like.

My background:
I have a bachelor's in psychology, and I've got 2 years of solid experience under my belt. For my first six months, I worked as an intern at an agency -- and for the past year and a half, I've been working in-house at an enterprise software company called Property Solutions. My greatest strength is interaction design, but my job requires me to be kind of a jack of all trades -- I've done user research, requirements gathering, low-fidelity wireframes (sketching / whiteboards / Balsamiq), high-fidelity wireframes (Illustrator), prototypes (HTML / LESS / jQuery), and usability tests. My projects have also been fairly diverse: I've designed website template tools for a CMS, tools for our sales team (think Salesforce type stuff), a call center interface, all kinds of dashboards, I've done information architecture for 1000+ settings, and lots of usability testing for apartment websites.

What can you tell me about the job landscape in Seattle? How competitive is it? Will I have a difficuilt time finding work, given my background? What are some of the best companies to work for? Do most people want to work for the big companies, or are startups the place to be? What would be a reasonable expectation, as far as salary goes? Any insights are much appreciated!


6 May 2013 - 12:00pm

Hi, Christine!

The job market in Seattle for UX-related positions is very favorable.  Qualified individuals are in high demand and there simply are not enough people to fill all the roles.  I think your background - years of experience and range of skills - will serve you well and as long as you have a strong resume and portfolio, you should have no trouble getting callbacks.

There are many options from small to big, agency and corporate, startups and hiring agencies.  I would say, compared to San Francisco, there are fewer startups but they are still here.  I would recommend creating some criteria starting with the type of work you want to do as well as work/life balance, culture and people and so on and use those as guide for finding work.  In my experience, those matter a lot more than whether I'm working at a huge corporation (I'm currently at Microsoft) or at a mid-sized agency.

As far as best companies, it really comes down to personal experience.  If you have time before choosing, I would recommend attending some local design events so you can meet local designers and get their input.  The local IXDA Seattle group is fairly active and there are many other groups (IA/UX Meetup, AIGA, UX Happy Hour, PS-SIGCHI, etc.)

In the meantime, here's a list of the best places to work:

Lastly, for salary expect the highest wages at places like Google, Microsoft and Amazon.  For agency, expect a fair salary but about 10-20% less than corporate depending on the position.

Good luck with your decision - UW is a great school and Seattle has a lot to offer for our particular field.



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